Let’s take some time to reflect this month on the most special word in the English language – spirituality. Each one of us, from the moment of our birth was sent on our personal spiritual journey. In my early years this word was taught to me in a negative way. Most of us connect this word to some form of religion yet if you look at the real meaning, the word has nothing to do with religion. Many times, we consider someone spiritual if they belong to a church and attend services. Yet what does it mean to be spiritual? The definition of the word means to awaken to who we are. A spiritual awakening means to rediscover a little bit at a time the energy and spirit that our Creator gave us at birth.
My own spiritual journey began with the family and parents God gave me so I could begin my journey on this earth. They were dysfunctional of course, like every family, because of their humanness.
Think about it, my parents came through two World Wars, a depression and settling into a new country. Yet through all of their struggles God sent me to learn lessons from them. The religious system they gave to me in the early years was one set around fear and guilt, and I’m still learning. I also learned from them the spirit of family and community while living in the Italian section of Camden. They also put me in touch with my identification and history. From my Dad I learned how to be the ultimate caretaker to a fault. Today I am learning how to say no and how to set boundaries. The fear and guilt are still there but a little at a time I’m learning to be stronger. Mom taught me to be in charge and control. Slowly I’m learning to delegate and release control. These are all great spiritual lessons that I hope to continue to learn. Like any other lesson we all have to learn through the school of hard knocks, the no pain no gain message. Through the years I’ve been blessed with many great teachers. Like anyone else it took me a long time to start to open my mind to these life lessons. In 1969 I was exposed to a very beautiful and powerful spiritual program that taught me so much. As I continue my spiritual journey, I’m learning there is no one way. The secret for me is to keep an open mind and always be willing to change and grow. Even though I have a degree next to my name in Theology, I didn’t learn anything about spirituality until I was exposed to the wonderful spiritual principles of AA, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve beautiful steps of life.
Just think, in 1935 two men, Dr. Bob and Bill W were drunks who met each other and taught the great spiritual principles. They supported each other and began their journey on the spiritual path of recovery. In the early years with the help of other recovering drunks, they gave us the steps, the principles of life and the wonderful suggestions from the Big Book. Today as I pray and try to live by these principles, they are helping me to become a better person. Below are some simple spiritual principles we can all live by.
- The only requirement for personal growth is to have the desire. Do the best you can ~ one step at a time.
- Have an open mind. I pray every day that I can learn something new from each person I meet.
- Progress not perfection. We are never done. Each day brings new discovery.
- Have an attitude of gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for. Each day is a gift, even with our struggles.
- Learn the four principles to live by, Honesty, Humility, Humor, Healing, the 4H Club of personal growth.
- Let go, Let God. Let go of control and get into the flow of life. Have faith and you will be led by the Higher Power. So nice to know we are not in charge, we are equal and simply servants to each other. We have to learn to let go of our egos.
- Patience. Everything happens in God’s time, not ours.
- Simplify. Don’t worry about exteriors, things continue to grow within. The simpler we make life the more peaceful it becomes.
There are just a few basic spiritual principles. Life is precious. Make time for the most wonderful experience, if only one day at a time, learn to love ourselves. The energy of love within us will spread to others. The real definition of the spiritual journey is basic. Love of God, love of self, love of neighbor. We can only share with others what is going on within us. Enjoy life, it’s worth living.